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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Elderly woman dies, daughter found alive after getting stranded in Panhandle National Forest, deputies say

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 5, 2021

An Oregon woman died venturing into the Panhandle National Forest for help after getting confused by her vehicle’s navigation system and winding up stuck there, Kootenai County deputies said.

The elderly woman’s adult daughter was found alive on Friday.

Around 11:45 a.m. Friday, a hunter reported finding a woman’s body in the Solitaire Saddle area of the forest, a news release from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said.

When deputies responded, the hunter led them to the woman’s body, and they also found a broken-down vehicle with another woman alive, deputies said.

The two women had been reported missing out of Pendleton, Oregon, on Wednesday. They were on their way to Utah.

The sheriff’s office said the women appeared to have gotten confused when following their vehicle’s navigation device and wound up in the North Idaho forest by accident. Then their vehicle broke down. The mother ventured out for help but appears to have died from exposure to the elements, deputies said.

The daughter, whom deputies said is mentally disabled, stayed with the vehicle.

While the incident doesn’t appear to be suspicious, deputies said it’s still under investigation.

The victim has not been identified.

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